Jonathan Wateridge grew up in Zambia and at the age of 18 moved to the UK, where in the early 1990s he studied painting at the Glasgow School of Art. In his works, he examines the subliminal impact of photographic and cinematic images from our everyday life.

He created his first series using his realistic aesthetic in 2005. It is a number of catastrophic images that depict ships and aircraft crash sites in hyperrealistic settings. He then created the “Group Series”, with actors dressed as astronauts or Sandinista rebels in images that bring to mind souvenir photos, and the “Another Place” series in 2007 that transforms Los Angeles into a fictional film set. In his cycles, Wateridge keeps depicting social and aesthetic phenomena. Usually he tests scenes with actors wearing selected costumes and the use of real-life props. He plays generously with light and, in the end, he does not film the scenes but takes photographs, and then paints them later.

Wateridge’s purpose is not to make a photorealistic rendering, as one may suspect given the complex production process, but a painting. His works are created with the impasto technique, or are even partly abstract. These contrast with the detailed parts of the composition. Formal contrasts correspond with the ambivalent presentation of content: reality and fiction, privacy and the public sphere – contrasts that also reflect the social changes which the artist examines and presents in his art.